tv [untitled] March 12, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
>> thank you. welcome to the small business commission, monday, march 12, 2012 meeting. the time is now 6:32 p.m. and the meeting is being called to order. at this time, please turn off all cell phones and pagers. please sign in at the front table if you'd like to be added to the mailing list. public comment will be taken on each item and speaker cards are available at the front table. at this time we'd like to thank sfg-tv and the media services for constant support of our meetings. item 1 is roll call. commissioner adams. >> here. >> commissioner dooley? >> here. >> commissioner dwight? >> here. >> commissioner o'brien? >> here's. >> commissioner ortiz-cartagena? >> here. >> commissioner white? >> here. >> commissioner yee riley? >> mr. president, all commissioners are present and before we go to the next item would you like to make some comments?
president adams: i want to welcome monetta white and william ortiz-cartagena. welcome to your first small business commission and welcome to the commission and this is exciting. we have some really good people with mark dwight now on the commission so i'm looking forward to working with each and every one of you so thank you very much. and i want to apologize to regina -- and i'll get to this. but regina and i were in a meeting just now dealing with small business impact for the new -- not new but payroll versus gross receipts tax that's being floated around. so thank you all for accommodating us and scheduling this meeting an hour late. that's it. >> all right. >> president? can we ask the new commissioners to tell us something about themselves. president adams: absolutely.
thank you, commissioner riley. commissioner bhite: i'm owner of 1300 on selmore. we've been in business four years, going on five years this october. we have approximate 35 employees, our spraunt -- restaurant is american cuisine with a southern influence. i am a native san franciscoian and i've been here my whole life so i've lived and worked here in san francisco and am very excited to be here. president adams: thank you. commissioner ortiz-cartagena: i'm the founder of gentle parking, a parking management here in san francisco. i, too am a sfrns native and employ 50 employees around the community and city we operate in. ploip thank you very much. president adams: thank you very much. commissioners, item 2, approval of the february 13, 2012
meeting minutes. the documents draft february 13, 2012 minutes. president adams: do we have a motion? >> i motion to approve. >> second. president adams: all in favor? >> aye. >> aye. >> commissioners, number three, general public comment. it allows members of the public to comment on matters within the purview and submit new items for the commission's future consideration. president adams: do we have any public comment on items that are not on our agenda today? seeing none, public comment is closed. >> commissioners, before you move on to your regular calendar, i'd like to announce we'll be hearing item 8 following item 4. is that correct, mr. president? president adams: yes. >> ok. thank you. at this time we'll move on to
our regular calendar. item 4, discussion of possible action to make recommendations to the board of supervisors on board of supervisors file number 120047, planning code, including financial services within the definition of formula retail, commissioners, in your packet is the results of a brief survey that was taken of merchant groups. i also have the definition of financial services for your reference. we have the legislative digest along with the ordinance. also in the back of your binder, in the back pocket is the formula retail briefing that we provided you, and that applies for the ordinances today, along with the general that is for you to take home with you. president adams: at this time i need to recuse myself from this legislation as i am a banker in charge of opening up bank branches within the city and county of san francisco so per the city attorney i will be
recusing myself on this legislation. commissioner yee riley? commissioner yee riley: i always want to be recused because i'm a current former banker and current shareholder. >> commissioners, at this time we'd need a motion to recuse commissioners adams and yee riley along with a second and take a vote of all commissioners. >> i move. >> i second. >> roll call. commissioner adams? >> yes. >> commissioner dooley? >> yes. commissioner dwight? >> yes. >> commissioner o'brien? >> yes. >> commissioner ortiz-cartagena? >> yes. >> commissioner white? >> yes. >> commissioner yee riley? >> yes. >> commissioners, at this time, commissioner adams, commissioner riley will be recused from this matter. commissioner o'brien, would you like to take over the meeting. >> you need to leave the dias.
>> commissioner o'brien, vice president o'brien, we'll have you lead the commission through this agenda item. voip you want to go to the next item? >> no, lead through this agenda item. vice president o'brien: at this time we have a presentation by nick pagoulatos, the legislative aid to supervisor eric mar. commissioners, this is a discussion and action item. >> good evening, commissioners, thank you very much for having us here. and congratulations to the two new commissioners. my name is nick pagoulatos, i'm a legislative aide to supervisor mar and am here on his behalf. this ordinance would simply amend sections 703.3, 806.3 and 303 of the planning code to include financial services within the category of uses
which are subject to the formula retail controls and require conditional use permit. it's a fairly straightforward ordinance of which simply brings financial services under the same requirements voters approved in 2007 when they passed proposition g. as you're probably aware at this time, banks and other financial institutions do not fall within the definition of formula retail. this legislation brings financial services within the definition making banks, credit unions and savings and loans that have 11 or more branches subject to the conditional use requirement. it is not a ban, and it does give formula retail financial service institutions a chance to move into areas where there is community support for their presence. by the same token, if an area such as hayes valley that has an already existing ban of formula retail uses, then financial services would be allowed -- i'm sorry, financial services would be captured by that ban. the intent is to give
neighborhoods a greater say in the way their commercial corridors are developed and ride an additional measure of protection to small businesses that feel threatened by the proliferation of formula retailers. it also allows the planning commission to assess whether a proposed bank, savings and loan or credit union is necessary or desirable in the community and in particular where there's an overconcentration of banks within that community, whether other similar retail uses are available within the district, whether the proposed bank is compatible with the existing architectural and aesthetic character of the district, the existing retail vacancy rates in the district and the existing rates of citywide formula city retail uses and neighborhood retail services within the district. we feel it is a reasonable piece of legislation. it's one in keeping with supervisor mar has been doing to protect small businesses, not just in district one but citywide and we feel you should support it wholeheartedly.
thank you very much for this opportunity. vice president o'brien: thank you. any questions from the commissioners? on this item? >> yes. does this affect location of a.t.m.'s in any way? >> it does not. only for branch offices. vice president o'brien: any other questions from any other commissioners? i've got a couple of questions, just curiosity more than anything. what led to the -- what motivated supervisor mar to bring this legislation? >> we were approached by members of the community who were concerned with the proliferation of formula retail bank branches, not just in the district but throughout the city. vice president o'brien: was that the main banks like wells fargo and chase? >> chase in particular. vice president o'brien: chase in particular. ok. all right. >> yes.
vice president o'brien: and, well, i think -- there's stuff in here, i've taken a quick look to see, but the consensus -- would you say that the consensus out there, most of the people as far as the outreach you've done so far would support this? >> yes. vice president o'brien: any idea why the banks weren't included originally or was it just an oversight? >> we have talked to the planning department about this. we have never gotten a concrete answer. basically this is the way the planning department has treated this particular use since the inception of prop g. we believe it's an oversight. we believe it's a loophole that needs to be closed. vice president o'brien: those areas that have an outright ban, the banks will be precluded from ever going in there? >> correct. vice president o'brien: ok. thank you. commissioner dwight? commissioner dwight: do you know of any situations there are banks that are grandfathered in areas where there is presently a ban? >> the way they would be
grandfathered in? commissioner dwight: in hayes valley are there banks existing? >> there are -- my belief is there are bank branches that are existing. this legislation is forward-looking, it wouldn't require anybody to go through another conditional use process. commissioner dwight: they would have to go through a conditional use and wouldn't preclude them? >> correct. vice president o'brien: for those areas that don't have an outright ban. >> right. vice president o'brien: in other commissioners' questions, comments before i go to public comment? all right. we'll open it up to the floor. go ahead. >> at this time the commission is taking public comment on this item. members of the public may speak for up to three minutes. if you could please state your name clearly and speakers are encouraged but not required to fill out a speaker card.
>> hello, commissioners. good evening. my name is chris wright, i'm the executive director on the committee on jobs, for full disclosure, we do have members that are banks, some of the banks have been here for many years and some are relatively new to the bay area. we believe that this proposal is arbitrary, largely unnecessary and could have some unintended consequences in the future. in terms of its being arbitrary, first of all, as you know, proposition g sets forth where if you have 11 more operations, that's considered to be formula retail. we have this issue with the legislation that if there's 11 banks or bank branches globally and none in the u.s., that a foreign bank, or foreign bank can open up a branch without these restrictions as opposed to a u.s. bank, that would probably have more than 11
branches and have these restrictions applied to them. there's this u.s. versus foreign concern. there's also i think a discriminatory process or aspect to this in that banks that are moving into this area are at an unfair -- or have an unfair regime placed upon them as opposed to some of the banks that have been here a long time. as mentioned, this grandfathers those existing banks. they're already here. what you're doing is putting more restrictions on the banks that may want to compete for your business. it's unnecessary in that many districts already have restrictions. each neighborhood district can have these or have these already in place where there are restrictions or outright bans. this one size fits all approach is unnecessary and could cause some banks just to say no, even that they don't want to go through the expensive and lengthy process of a c.u.
permit even when there might be some community support to go in there. it's also odd in that banks are, by their very nature, networked. there are very few banks -- there's no sort of mom and pop bank, from the retail legislation was put in place largely as a form of retail to apply formula retail such as coffee shops or retail stores. that doesn't exist in the banking world. when you go into a bank, you could have access to that, your money there or you can go to another bank and get that money. it is -- there are many -- there's very few small banks that would not have this applied to them because they're going to be over 11. in terms of its unintended consequences, i think that banks in the neighborhoods, bank branches in the neighborhoods, are good for small businesses. when you get to go to your local branch and develop a relationship with the people
there, you can explain your business and talk to them more. i think that's beneficial to small businesses. additionally in my own personal experience, i go to my local bank. i get cash, i spend the cash in my neighborhood and it brings foot traffic. please be careful as you move forward with it. thanks. vice president o'brien: thank you. >> jim lazarus. commissioners, jim lazarus, san francisco chamber of commerce. thank you for the time to make a case, i hope to urge you to oppose the legislation that's before you at the board of supervisors. we've had a difficult job history in this country and in this city the last few years, and financial services industry certainly took the brunt of that, but we've had it before in a savings and loan crisis of 30 years ago when savings and loan branches were closed all over the city. three, four years ago you had bank branches closed all over the city. new banks are here because they were compelled by federal
regulators to take over banks that were about to fail three years ago. you find a wachovia branch anywhere now? or a washington mutual branch anywhere now? no. those are wells branches. those are chase branches. because those banks stepped in to take over those troubled institutions. those are not so much wells at the moment but we've already said the target is chase which is expanding and adding thousands of jobs in northern california as it takes over a failed banking system and makes it grow, hiring people again. san francisco has a policy of urging through our treasurer, tax collector, of urging san franciscoians to be bank, not to use payday lenders. most recently a week ago with current c.s.f. using employers to use direct deposits for paychecks for their employees. on the one hand the message from san francisco is let's have banks, let's have branches, let's have people use those banks, both employers and residents and employees.
but on the other hand, we now have a piece of legislation that can make a noisy minority in any business trip in san francisco make enough noise to turn down a conditional use application to open a competitive branch to another national or international bank. formula retail was designed to protect a neighborhood merchant from a big national or international merchant coming in selling the same product. that's not the world of banking. what we're doing here is reacting to somebody's concern that they don't like blue signs or they don't like stagecoach signs or whatever is going into their commercial strips, and that's really not what formula retail legislation was designed to protect from. so i urge you to urge the board of supervisors to table the legislation. thank you. vice president o'brien: thank you.
any further public comments on this item? come forward, please. >> hello, my name is gio danler-katz, i am a community outreach liaison on behalf of chase morgan, chase bank as a consultant and help with their government relations. since they were mentioned, i wanted to share some thoughts. we don't have a formal position on the legislation, but are aware of the fact that the impetus as was explained is in part due to a group of individuals who were not happy with the project that went forward last year, and appealed it multiple times on the grounds that the project should have fallen under the formula retail rules, which it was determined multiple times that it did not so then the effort led to well, let's change the
rules so it would clearly be under formula retail. just some additional history. what i wanted to speak to was the fact that chase, as you heard, is in expansion mode and is not opposed to doing community outreach and why they brought me on over a year and a half ago, and to working very closely with the community even though the bank is new to california, only having been here after taking over washington mutual 2 1/2 years ago, they are already the number one s.b.a. lender in california, number one small business lender nationally. and something i would ask you to consider is perhaps doing some sort of study to look at the impact of this. and when i went and spoke to people to get information, what is this going to mean to us and what are the impacts? one of the areas that clearly is affected is the loans that we do come through our branches. that is how relationships are formed between local merchants and the bankers that specialize
in making those loans and it's those relationships that the more access, the more fruitful they are. merchant services is another area chase has done a lot of work in, as i'm sure the other financial institutions have as well. there are potential impacts i would ask you to think about and not necessarily do a once-size-fits-all blanket approach when it could have unintended consequences. there are a lot of things that go in consideration of where to put a new store or branch, and something that has been challenging to date is the planning department is easily backlogged and so this adds another category where planners have to spend months, as does the project sponsor, going through very stringent criteria. so i would suggest that perhaps there be more analysis and economic studies, you heard there's a lot of job growth
associated. chase has already hired thousands of people in california. last year i think there were over 4,000 new positions and a large bulk of them in the bay area and san francisco in particular. i know i'm already over -- i'm not over time yet. so the last thing i'll say is banks are different and that was part of the rationale historically, that the nature of the bank is to have branches, so there's very few financial institutions, even credit unions which fall under the criteria of having 10 or more or more than 10 locations. and so the impact will be less competition and less access and there are a lot of areas in the city that already aren't adequately served. vice president o'brien: ok. thank you. any other public comments on this item? seeing none, public comment is closed. commissioner dwight? commissioner dwight: it seems to me the argument
objectionable sign inches is an oversimplification. i would think the objection would be we know banks are highly competitive and they have deep pockets, and if they choose -- if one bank chooses to set up in a neighborhood, it's likely to attract other competitors and thereby taking over limited retail space in these smaller neighborhoods and driving up rents, so i think there are some consequences that perhaps haven't been put together before the commission today, in support of this sort of thing. i'm just saying i think that we should look at all sides of the debate here. vice president o'brien: commissioner dooley? commissioner dooley: actually, i agree with what commissioner dwight says, and i don't really see requiring a c.u. process is going to be a hardship. these are large corporations, these are not mom and pop companies that will have a problem dealing with the c.u. process.
really, this is just a loophole that is being closed. and in our packets, we see that this was supported by a majority, or a large amount of merchant organizations. the c.u. process does work, and i don't feel that there's a reason why banks need to be allowed to go into spaces without a c.u. when smaller independence, all kind of people are required to do c.u.'s. so i just think that it's a good piece of legislation, and it's going to prevent banks from taking over more retail spaces in our neighborhoods. vice president o'brien: ok, any other commissioner comments? what about our new commissioners? any comments? no, ok. i don't mean to put you on the